In turns of quality, Mixtapes are very much on the up. But while some use them as a marketing tool (with mixed results) others are putting their all into making sure their more diserning fan is taken care of. Artists such as Sonny Jim, Cunninlynguists, Busta Rhymes & Dyme Def, amongst others have all recently put out efforts worthy of heavy label backing. No longer are Mixtapes just a way of putting ones back catalogue to good use or marketing fodder for a mediocre album. MCs like Kyza, via Shots Of Smirnoff, are upping the ante in a big way. He could have simply chosen a bunch of randomly 'hot' beats & thrown them together. But this atmospheric mix of new tracks & recognised beats sees Kyza essentially treating this as his sophomore release. And as is my prerequisite for an album, some form of growth or expansion as an artist is evident in places. A gifted storyteller is now evident (Freddy) as well exploration of today's social ills & teenage angst (Wild Orchid, the brilliant My Soul & again, Freddy). Lupe's handiwork has also been put to superb use & the whole thing is concluded in the right way. Occasionally the moody underbelly gets tickled to keep things moving but invariably this is a 'life album. There is no forcing of issues & there is no good versus evil. Kyza just shows us his many facets & leaves it up to us to determine what we will. Which is exactly what takes this project from very good to a release of supreme quality.